Radiation therapy is among the most successful treatments when it comes to fighting cancer.
More than 14 million cases of cancer are diagnosed every year – but radiation therapy has the potential to improve the rates of cure for 3.5 million people, and provide palliative relief for another 3.5 million.
Radiation therapy is not without its share of side-effects, leaving many to wonder how they can maximize its effects without drastically damaging their quality of life. Fortunately, there’s much a patient can do to help ensure they are getting the most out of their treatment.
The most important step anyone can take is to attend every appointment!
How Many Radiation Treatments Can You Miss?
Did you know the most controllable factor relating to the effectiveness of radiation treatment is simply attending all of your appointments? Making sure you show up for therapy appointments on time and as scheduled is a huge part of the equation when it comes to winning the battle against cancer.
So much so, in fact, that patients who frequently miss sessions during treatment have an increased risk of their disease returning – even if they eventually complete their entire schedule of treatments. Wow.
A study completed at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York illustrated these facts. The study analyzed data from 1,200 patients who had received radiation therapy treatments over a five-year period. In this particular study, patients who missed just two or more sessions were considered “noncompliant” – on average this group missed approximately four appointments.
The results surrounding this group were astounding – during a follow-up period, 9 percent of patients had their cancer recur, while 19 percent died.
The results speak for themselves – missed radiation sessions can potentially lead to serious consequences. Of course, many patients aren’t skipping appointments by choice – but seemingly valid reasons for missing sessions can be remedied in a variety of different ways.
We at CamWell know of the struggles that can occur as a result of radiation therapy – it’s part of the reason we take such a vested interest in formulating only the most effective skin products for patients before, during, and after their radiation therapy.
Why Do Cancer Patients Skip Radiotherapy Sessions?
There can be any combination of reasons for patients missing appointments, including but not limited to:
- Transportation Issues
- Family Emergencies
- Lack of Energy
- Mental Fatigue
One of the most important things a patient can do to help minimize the number of sessions missed is constant communication with family, doctors, and their care team. In most situations, your care team will be willing to work with your schedule, helping to ensure you’re achieving the maximum benefit of your treatment.
The Biggest Reason Patients Miss Radiation Treatment Sessions
Why is radiation therapy often interrupted? One of the most prevalent issues patients are faced with are the potential skin changes that come along with prolonged radiation therapy. Often, patients find themselves dealing with any combination of these skin conditions, leading not only to physical discomfort, but compromised self-esteem. These skin reactions to radiotherapy include:
- Open sore (wound)
While these conditions can be uncomfortable and distressing, we’re here to say – We’re here to help! (Check out our related post on things to avoid during radiation therapy.)
Staying on Track and Avoiding Interruption
The good news? There’s a lot you can do to help yourself stick to your radiation therapy schedule and avoid session interruption – and we’re here to lend a helping hand!
Skin changes and discomfort are some of the biggest issues facing patients when it comes to regularly attending radiation therapy sessions and avoiding interruption. It’s only common that patients are impacted by these changes – but it’s something we at CamWell have made our personal mission to help you fight.
CamWell Herb to Soothe cream helps heal skin damaged by radiation – but it does so much more than that. In formulating Herb to Soothe, our team of oncologists wanted to design a moisturizer that would aid patients before, during, and after treatment.
So how does Herb to Soothe help patients stay on schedule? We thought you’d never ask.
Herb to Soothe’s powerful blend of natural ingredients, medicinal herbs hand-picked from their native habitats, based on the fundamental wisdom of natural medicine comprise a natural solution that is formulated for maximum strength. Because of this powerful formula, patients need to only use a thin layer twice a day to achieve relief from their symptoms.
When patients don’t have to continuously worry about uncomfortable skin changes, they’re far more likely to keep their appointments – in essence, maximizing the beneficial impact of their radiation therapy by sticking to a schedule.
Aside from using Herb to Soothe as a powerful ally, these strategies will help you keep your appointments on track. Of course, every individual is different – ultimately your doctor can make the most effective recommendations when it comes to maintaining a schedule:
Communicate With Your Team – Staff members in your doctor’s office or medical center will always try to work out a treatment schedule that suits your individual needs.
Take a Break – It’s important to remember that short-term interruptions (a day or two) are unlikely to reduce the effectiveness of your treatment. If you need a break, communicate it to your doctor so they can determine the most appropriate way to go about it.
Make-up Sessions – We all know life happens, so patients are bound to miss a session or two from time to time. If and when this is the case, it’s important to let your team know right away. Many times, the missed sessions can be added on to the end of your treatment schedule.
Learn – Educating yourself on the potential side-effects of radiation treatment will leave you better equipped to handle them. There are plenty of resources out there for you – the CamWell site is a great place to start.
Whatever the case may be, remember – you are not in this fight alone. Our team at CamWell takes an immense amount of pride in helping patients in their battle against cancer – and attending all of your radiation therapy appointments is a crucial step in winning the fight against cancer.
Have you ever heard about the impact that light can have on one’s ability to fight cancer? Check out this blog post that explores light pollution and the facts concerning cancer.